Las luchadoras contra la momia*

[The Wrestling Women vs. the Mummy]

(Cin. Calderón, 1964) Prod: Guillermo Calderón Stell; Dir: René Cardona [Sr.]; Adapt: Alfredo Salazar; Story: Alfredo Salazar, Guillermo Calderón Stell; Photo: Ezequiel Carrasco; Music: Antonio Díaz Conde; Prod Mgr: Luis García de León; Prod Chief: José Luis Busto; Asst Dir: Jesús Marín; Film Ed: Jorge Bustos; Art Dir: José Rodríguez Granada; Decor: Adalberto López; Lighting: Luis García; Makeup: Felisa Ladrón de Guevara; Sound Supv: James L. Fields; Sound: Eduardo Arjona, Galdino Samperio; Sound Ed: José Li-Ho; Union: STPC

*[English-language version: Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy-- Prod: K. Gordon Murray; Dir: Manuel San Fernando; character names which differ in English-language version are shown in brackets after original character name]

*[a subsequent video release is entitled Rock 'n Roll Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy]

CAST: Lorena Velázquez (Loreta Venus), Elizabeth Campbell (Golden Rubí), Armando Silvestre (Armando Ríos [Mike Henderson]), Chucho Salinas (Chucho Gómez [Tommy]), María Eugenia San Martín (Chela [Charlotte Van Dine]), Ramón Bugarini (Prince Fujiyata), Jesús "Murciélago" Velázquez (Mao), Víctor Velázquez (Dr. Luis Trelles [Dr. Tracy]), Julián de Meriche (Dr. Miguel [Mike] Sorva), Gerardo Zepeda (Temozoc), Armando Acosta (detective), Manuel Dondé (hotel clerk), Mario Sevilla (hat store clerk), Ballet de Milagros Oliva, Toña la Tapatía, Irma González, Chabela Romero, Martha Solis, Magdalena Caballero, Juan Garza, Mishima Ota, Uroki Sito, N. León "Frankestein," Reyes Oliva, Gerardo "El Romano"

NOTES: The availability of this film in an English-dubbed version has made it somewhat more notorious than it might actually deserve. The second "Luchadoras" feature, Las luchadoras contra la momia is rather disjointed and not at all as campy as its predecessor.

As I have noted before, one major problem with the "luchadoras" films is that the stars don't do their own stunts (for the most part--both leading actresses did some light combat), requiring the use of obvious doubles and actually limiting the amount of physical action in each film. Masked wrestlers like El Santo didn't do much acting (their dialogue being post-dubbed), but they did their own fighting (and with the masks, it's harder to tell, anyway). Speaking of dubbing, the voices assigned to Lorena Velázquez and Elizabeth Campbell at "Soundlab" in Coral Gables, Florida, are unpleasant and annoying, and Jesús Velázquez's character ("Mao") is called "Mayo" throughout the picture.

A couple of other flaws worth noting: Lorena Velázquez's hairstyle changes from shot to shot in some scenes, a bat flies backwards out of window, and a substantial amount of footage is allegedly shot via a hidden camera (which is itself shown numerous times, to remind the audience of the point-of-view being presented, I guess) that is apparently capable of tracking, panning, zooming, and even looking in other rooms, all from its location on a shelf (next to a bottle of liquor!).

But the biggest problem with Las luchadoras contra la momia is the overall lack of mummy. At least 75% of the film concerns the efforts of sinister Prince Fujiyata to obtain fragments of a codex in order to locate a hidden Aztec treasure. Only very late does the mummy arise and start stalking around. Temozoc, as he's called this time, is pretty impressive looking: glaring eyes, a skull-like grimace, and sparse hair (as opposed to Popoca's long tresses in the Aztec Mummy trilogy). Although Gerardo Zepeda plays Tezomoc in his pre-mummified existence, it's not known if the burly actor was also inside the mummy costume.

A few trivia notes: Lorena Velázquez appears not only with her father, Víctor Velázquez, but her uncle Manuel Dondé (whose sister married Víctor Velázquez) also has a small role. Elizabeth Campbell is as taller or taller than anybody else in the cast (Lorena's poofy hairdo makes up the difference at times), and she bears a surprising resemblance to a young Ann-Margret in certain scenes (when she's wearing a sweater and tight black capri pants).

The plot: several archeologists have been murdered by the Black Dragon gang of Prince Fujiyata. He is trying to obtain all the fragments of a codex which shows the location of an Aztec treasure. Dr. Sorva eludes the gang and hides in the dressing room of Loreta and Rubí, famous wrestling women. Loreta's boyfriend is Armando, whose uncle is Dr. Trelles, the final member of the archeological expedition. After Sorva tells his story, he's killed by a poisoned dart. Chela Van Dine, the daughter of one of the murdered scientists, has gone to Dr. Trelles for help.

In order to confound the Black Dragons, Trelles tells Rubí, Loreta, Armando and Armando's assistant Chucho, that he has split his part of the codex into three fragments. He disappears to try and throw Fujiyata off the track, but later tips off his friends to the hiding places of the codex parts. However, the Black Dragons kidnap Chela and turn her into a zombie; she helps them steal two of the codex scraps. The third part is hidden in the Luchadoras' locker room: Fujiyata and his men face off with Armando, Loreta, Rubí, and Chucho. The Asian mastermind proposes a sporting bet: his two sisters (judo experts) will face the Luchadoras in a winner-take-all match. The combat is difficult, but the Luchadoras beat their stocky opponents (both of the "Asian" women look more or less like rotund comedienne Susana Cabrera, hardly a fearsome sight), and Fujiyata turns over his part of the codex. [Alfredo Salazar re-used this plot device in Santo en el tesoro de Drácula, and it was even less logical the second time around] Armando tries to arrest Fujiyata and his gang for murder, but Fujiyata's sisters beat up Armando and Chucho and the gang escapes!

Dr. Trelles deciphers the codex and they all go to a hidden chamber in an Aztec pyramid. According to Trelles, during the Aztec era a young maiden named Xóchitl (aren't they all?) was scheduled to be sacrified to the gods but instead ran off with Temozoc, a sorcerer. Both were caught: Xóchitl (although presumably not a virgin any longer) was sacrificed nonetheless and Temozoc was buried alive to serve as her guardian. A breastplace inscribed with directions to the treasure horde was placed on Xóchitl's body.

Trelles and the others remove the breastplate from Xochitl's dessicated corpse (which has a couple of rats still chewing on it, although I doubt if there was much meat left on her after a couple of hundred years). Temozoc wakes up but since he's as slow and clumsy as all movie mummies, the intruders escape.

Fujiyata and his gang plan to steal the breastplate and then take possession of the treasure, but Temozoc wipes them out. He also tries to get the breastplate back but has to return to his tomb by daybreak (his sorcerer's powers allow him to turn into a bat and fly around, the source of the backwards-exit alluded to earlier; the producers were too damn cheap to shoot 10 seconds of additional film, so they just reversed the bat's arrival!).

Chucho and Chela decide to return the breastplate to the tomb themselves, but get separated inside the pyramid. Chucho brings Armando, Rubí and Loreta back to help. Temozoc turns into a bat and a tarantula, but is eventually captured by having a bag put over his head (his eyes are his source of power). He's also scared of fire. The breastplate is returned. Temozoc still wants to do some strangling, but the tomb collapses, burying him (Armando, Loreta, Chucho, Rubí, etc., escape).

Las luchadoras contra la momia has a cult reputation and a lot of people like it for its "camp" aspects, but it really sounds wackier than it is. The Aztec Mummy trio is more consistently entertaining, and the Luchadoras are better served in their first feature and Las luchadoras vs. el robot asesino is good but doesn't feature either Lorena Velázquez or Elizabeth Campbell). To recap, good mummy but not enough of him.

Back to the Elizabeth Campbell Filmography.

Posted 3 June 99, edited 8 Dec 2006 by (remove NOSPAM if you want to e-mail me)